An Absolute Lie You Still Tell: “Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely” by Greg Perry
I can’t figure out why so many Christians love to quote hundreds of myths, told with solemn faces as if they were exposing chasm-deep truths that’ll revolutionize civilization.
Scripture gives us more than 31,000 verses to refer to. Don’t you think in 31,000+ verses, there’d be a few in there that might pertain to a point we want to make without us resorting to yet another lie such as, “all sins are equal,” “you shouldn’t judge,” or perhaps absolutely the worst lie you’ve ever quoted:
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
The “Right Honorable Lord” Acton said that in the 1800s.
Funny though… He was neither “Right,” nor “Honorable,” nor “Lord.”
Note: I have no problem with titles such as these given to specific positions. It’s interesting, however, to see that this guy’s titles were 180-degrees wrong in every way. You know, this Acton guy who so many of us love quoting.
Power Absolutely Never Corrupts
Can I please re-phrase that famous quote by the Roman Catholic Lord Acton so many of us tout as true?
I can? Thanks!
Why don’t we change – not the meaning, but just the wording a bit?
“Power tends to corrupt, and Almighty power corrupts absolutely.”
“Power tends to corrupt, and Eternal Most High power corrupts absolutely.”
“Power tends to corrupt, and He Who Reigns Supreme corrupts absolutely.”
“Power tends to corrupt, and Perfect Unlimited power corrupts absolutely.”
“Power tends to corrupt, and All-Holy power corrupts absolutely.”
Each of those means exactly the same thing that so many people’s beloved Lord Acton quote means.
How Many Beings Have Absolute Power?
“Absolute” means not relative, standing alone, universally valid, completely independent of all other things.
Two or more beings cannot have “absolute” power.
Do you know of a being with absolute power? (You should.) (If you don’t, today would be a good day to meet Him. (1 Cor. 15:3-4))
How Dare You!
I don’t appreciate you going around telling the world that my Creator corrupts absolutely.
I implore you to stop telling that lie immediately.
“Yeah, But That’s Not What I Mean”
Yeah. But that’s what you say.
Again: Power Never Corrupts
Does power ever corrupt?
I say absolutely not.
No power corrupts.
Want to challenge me on that one? I love to be challenged! If I’m wrong, I want to be corrected. If you’re wrong, I want to correct you! Either way, we both win.
I love a win.
Back to that One, Supreme, All Holy, Almighty, Eternal Most High, Perfect Unlimited, Absolute power I brought up earlier. He does not corrupt. He is incorruptible.
What about other, lesser forms of power? Do those forms of power “tend to corrupt”?
Do you know what my Absolute powerful God does all throughout His Word?
He transfers power of all levels and values, to men.
- He raises up kings
- He makes leaders out of the least likely of candidates
- He prescribes our church authority structure (1 Timothy)
- He dictates family authority (the husband is the head)
- He appoints judges
- He requires governments to judge righteously and then carry out punishment on the guilty
- He set up rules of worship for priests to carry out for His people
- …and ultimately: He appoints the King of all Kings.
God seems to love setting up power structures.
God seems to love raising up men in power.
Maybe God’s Illiterate?
So, let me ask you: Did God forget to read Lord Acton’s writings?
Would a little time spent reading a few of that Roman Catholic’s words help God fix the places He messed up, like the fact He is absolute power and like the fact that He wants man, lots of men actually, to have power over others?
Corruption Happens, So What Does Corrupt?
I challenge you to examine God’s authority structures all throughout Scripture.
If you have at least one brain cell, you’ve already conceded that Absolute power never ever corrupts.
But, if non-absolute power “tends to corrupt,” as Lord Acton also said, then it is you who must let God know that He constantly corrupts men by giving them power over groups of people.
We’ll wait patiently here while you let God know He needs counseling…
… <waiting> …
… <elevator music plays> …
So… What Does Corrupt?
You conceded that it’s not Absolute power.
It’s not power. If you have at least one brain cell, you’ve now conceded that too.
Sin is the picture definition of corruption.
Sin damages everything in its path. Sin corrupts constantly, thoroughly, and absolutely.
People who reject their Creator and willingly go to hell (all in hell chose to be there) are absolutely corrupted. There’s no turning back. There’s no second chance. Life isn’t a dress rehearsal.
Hell is absolute.
Sin puts people there.
Sin festers and quickly becomes an idol that mankind worships and loves.
Let’s Change Things:
“Sin corrupts. Sin corrupts absolutely.”
I don’t know, maybe, maybe, that’s more accurate and something we should begin saying instead of Lord Acton’s lie?